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A Delicate Machine
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Even as Cass broke down, sobbing on the shoreline, the world didn't stop as it rightfully should. Jerry and Matt still continued to move and talk and breathe in the air of the Earth that would take no notice of one less human being, no matter how kind and brave. At that moment, Cass might have given up and sat still even with a gun to their head or a knife at their throat, but Matt's voice violently shook them from their fugue.

They were scavengers with full bellies, nevertheless stopping to experimentally tear the flesh off a fresh corpse just to see if it was to their liking, taking death in stride with a cold, businesslike manner; stamping the order of execution and forgetting about it before lunch. Nothing more than a mild disruption to their daily routine, and even then, something they could still benefit from.

Cass unsteadily rose to their feet. "You're not- not taking anything," they screamed at the two vultures, hiccuping and choking on tears that robbed their voice of any power it could have had. "Don't you fuh-fucking touch him!" It was still too soon to think of Trav as an it, too much to bear to voice the truth of his transition from a person to a lifeless thing.

Trav's bag was lying next to Cass's on the ground. It would be easy to grab them and run, to deny his killers at least some sanctification, but Cass stood their ground. They had been too late to save Trav's life, but they could still protect his memory. After everything, they owed him that much.
a tribute for the dead and dying

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Wombo Combo · Shoreline